Technological Intimacy


In the New York Times, Clive Thompson discusses how social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook have redefined the concepts of privacy and intimacy. He suggests that the Facebook generation, where everybody knows what everyone else is doing is perhaps not as futuristic as we might like to think;


“This is the ultimate effect of the new awareness: It brings back the dynamics of small-town life, where everybody knows your business.”


This generation has happily handed over a chunk of its privacy in exchange for greater (or at least broader) intimacy. Turns out, we are willing to give up our secrets, our activities, and our innermost thoughts in exchange for a wider network of friends and for more awareness of those friends’ lives.


I like the idea that Facebook has re-created a bygone era. There are a myriad of options out there for how people can spend their online time and yet, the most popular web 2.0 tools seem to be the ones that facilitate olde-worlde activities like story telling, sharing knowledge, and catching up.